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Help me choose - Only Kenya or Ngorogoro + Kenya in 10 days

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Jun 20th, 2012, 04:07 PM
  #1
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Help me choose - Only Kenya or Ngorogoro + Kenya in 10 days

Hi there, We are a family of 5 (my husband, our two year-old daughter, my 65-year old parents and me) going to Africa for the first time this October. We will fly in and out of Nairobi. We have 10 nights/11 days. We are now at the point of finalizing our itinerary. We have heard very good things of Offbeat camps and have decided to use them in Kenya. Our options are to do either of the following:

Option 1 (All Kenya)
Kenya (Offbeat Camps)
Offbeat Mara - 4 days
Offbeat Meru - 3 days
Sosian House - 3 days

Option 2 (Kenya + Tanzania)
Offbeat Mara - 4 days
Sosian - 3 days
Ngorogoro - 3 days

We are trying to stay at around 5K per person (not including air), so Tanzania might require us to stretch the budget. We can do that, but wanted to get advice from the seasoned travelers on which option is better for our group. If anybody has ever stayed at these camps, would welcome any personal experiences.

Appreciate any advice/tips from the group. Thanks for your help.
pr2002 is offline  
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Jun 20th, 2012, 04:42 PM
  #2
 
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From a wildlife standpoint, I'd pick #2. I really liked Meru, but animals are far more scarce and skittish there than the crater. Also Oct will be extremely hot in Meru, if that is an issue for anyone.

But before I committed to #2, I'd want to know the logistics of #2 and the cost between the two options.

Your 3 days Ngorongoro might boil down to one day of safari or just one game drive and the rest of the time spent getting to/from. I still think the amount of wildlife in the crater would exceed the amount in Meru.

If you don't have flts yet, consider flying into one country and out of the other if that is possible.

Have a nice family trip.
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Jun 20th, 2012, 07:34 PM
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Ngorongoro is special but like lynn I wonder what the 3 days really means? Three drives in the Crater? Probably a day travel to/from? You need more information. Get ALL transfer information starting from Nairobi, between camps, back to Nairobi, how it will be accomplished and the time each segment takes. If your TA thinks you don't need to know this, get another TA.

regards - tom
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Jun 21st, 2012, 08:55 AM
  #4
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Thanks so much for the input. To be clear, my travel agent has not yet given me an itinerary for Tanzania. Tehy have proposed the first one, and #2 was just created by me. BAsed on what I am hearing, we could probably keep 4 days in Sosian, 4 days in Mara and just do with 2 days in Tanzania - 1 day at the crater, and 1 day for travel. (I am interested in more wildlife so it might make sense to skip Meru). I will update once I find out the cost.

Feedback welcome - thanks again!
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Jun 21st, 2012, 09:03 AM
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Re: going to the Crater, there is another issue... visas. For an American, the Tanzania visa is $100. As Tom and Atravelynn note, you'll have to factor in the transfer costs (2 flights) plus the usual driver/guide, vehicle and accommodations. Then, there are the fees levied by the Ngorongoro Conservation Authority: approximately $50 pp and $200 per vehicle. These are for each 24-hour period. Also, you are only allowed a half-day drive in the Crater. While the Crater wildlife density may be higher than Meru, factoring in all the other issues, you may actually see more wildlife for a lower cost by going to Meru for three days. If you were doing a safari on the northern Tanzania safari circuit, by all means go to the Crater, but doing a side trip from Kenya doesn't seem to be the best choice.
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Jun 21st, 2012, 09:19 AM
  #6
 
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Also is Tanzania still requiring proof of yellow fever vaccination when entering from Kenya? If so, that would be something else to factor in.
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Jun 21st, 2012, 10:45 AM
  #7
 
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You indicated wildlife is top goal. If you already have a yellow fever card or getting it is reasonable and if the extra visa fee is acceptable, then adding the crater makes sense.

To really max wildlife, I'd do Samburu, Mara, and crater. Though I have not been to Sosian, I still think Samburu has more.

If the whole Tanz add-on is getting to be too much time, hassle, shots and money, then I'd do Samburu, Sosian and Mara for the most wildlife.

If you stay in Kenya and think Samburu and Sosian are too similar, then consider Amboseli, Sosian or Samburu, Mara. Or Samburu or Sosian, Nakuru/Naivasha, Mara.

If you are at all concerned about the 2-year old in smaller planes, a Samburu or Sosian, Nakuru/Naivasha, Mara trip would have a 6-7 hour drive in there, but no planes required.

It is really sinking in for me that you are going with a 2-year old. I'm starting to think one country is best to be practical.

When you have the specific logistics and costs, plus weigh in with the medical, you can better compare.
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Jun 22nd, 2012, 08:52 AM
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Yes, Tanzania is requiring the Yellow Fever certificate if you're coming from Kenya.
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Jun 22nd, 2012, 12:30 PM
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If you only have 2/days for Tanzania/Ngorongoro... save this for a future trip. You would have already seen all that game there is to see when in Kenya.

Besides on departing the Sosian or the Mara, the connecting flight doesn't arrive Kili till 2pm and from there it's a 5/hr drive to the Crater whose gates close by 6pm (you're already locked-out , so necessitating an overnight in Arusha or you might get as far as Lk. Manyara, then continue to the crater next day.

It's basically a turn-around and unless you're a flight attendent who is used to this kind of scheduling, with a 2/yr old and two seniors... forgetaboutit!

Besides, of course, and as mentioned... additional Visa @ USD$100/person (regardless age), and Yellow Fever inoculation with proof for entry to/from/between countries.

As I posted on your TA thread, Itin #1 is fine, if availability on your dates, you do the north first - Sosian/Meru and conclude in the Mara.
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Jun 24th, 2012, 04:07 AM
  #10
 
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Like everyone else, I too would stick with option 1. Unlike the others, Im not a big fan of the Ng Crater. Not that it isnt full of game, but I rather be out in Meru then fighting 30 other vehicles per sighting in the crater.

Ive never stayed at an Offbeat camp, but they get good reviews on Tripadvisor. For $500pppn, they better be good
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